In a 2-week enforcement operation conducted between 29 October and 7 November 2019 by officers from the Commercial Affairs Department and seven police divisions, 80 men and 60 women, aged between 14 and 70, are currently assisting with investigations for their suspected involvement in scams. The suspects are believed to be involved in 278 cases of scams, which mainly involves online purchase scams, amounting to more than $247,000.

The suspects are being investigated for cheating or money laundering. Anyone found guilty of cheating under section 420 of the Penal Code, may be punished with imprisonment for up to 10 years and a fine. Anyone found guilty of money laundering under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act, may be punished with an imprisonment for up to 10 years and/or a fine of up to S$500,000.

Members of the public are advised to adopt the following measures to avoid falling victim to online purchase scams:

Don't be impulsive � Be wary of online advertisements of items at cheap prices that sound too good to be true! Do not buy on impulse. Read the reviews of the seller before committing to a purchase.

Don't believe � Scammers may use a local bank account or provide a copy of a NRIC/driver's licence to make you believe that they are genuine sellers. Do not fall for it!

Don't give � As you are dealing with strangers, avoid making payments or deposits in advance. Try to use shopping platforms/arrangements that release your payment to the seller only upon receipt of the item. Alternatively, arrange to meet the seller and pay only on delivery.

To avoid being an accomplice to crimes, members of the public should always reject requests by others to use your bank account or mobile lines as you will be held accountable if these accounts are linked to illegal transactions.

For more information on scams, members of the public can visit www.scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Hotline at 1800-722-6688. Anyone with information on such scams may call the Police hotline at 1800-255-0000 or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.

Source: Singapore Police Force